SMALL BUSINESS OWNER WARNING: LITTLE TIP FOR BUSINESS OWNERS ‘INVITE ALL YOUR FRIENDS’

Social media is a great tool for quickly disseminating information amongst friends and seeking advice. The question is, how accurate is the advice being given?

If there’s one thing recent high profile scandals at the international level have highlighted, it’s just how easily false information can be spread through social media and the impact that can have. 

This weekend we became aware of an image being shared on Facebook, advising business owners on how their friends can invite all of their Facebook friends to like their business page in one go. 

Whilst seemingly a good piece of advice, we are urging all small business owners to STOP and consider the implications of doing so of which they may not be aware of.

Whilst we aren’t quite accusing the Russian government of distributing this image to disrupt our economy, it could very easily have long lasting negative impacts on the individual small business owners who follow this advice and share it on in good faith.

In our opinion, it’s about as trustworthy for your business as the Momo Challenge is for your children.

 

You may have seen this shared on Facebook over the last few days.

We’re aware that the business owners following this advice are likely not be marketers or have any marketing experience. Many small business owners can not yet afford to pay agencies or specialists to manage their social media channels.

Whether it’s protein powder to get muscles or Juice Plus to make money, everyone loves the prospect of a ‘silver bullet’. The shortcut to success that requires minimum effort and gets maximum results. Unfortunately there are very few of these in marketing.

It is our position as a business, and my personal and professional opinion (I’ve got a good few letters after my name, experience under my belt and successes & failures to boot) that this technique should be avoided, here is why…

Facebook Optimisation

Facebook is continuously looking at your page and collecting data on who likes, follows and views it, and who engages with your posts. 

This gives Facebook an idea of who you page is targeted at and is most relevant to, and allows them to then place it in front of more people like that.

It will show in the crowded timelines of your followers friends when they engage and also show as a recommended page to the people similar to your followers.

By inviting all your friends, and then asking them to do the same (and potentially their friends to do the same) you are essentially approaching your marketing with a scattergun approach. Your page will be populated with people who are not relevant to your business  and will therefore be presented to more people who are not relevant to your business and not likely to ever use your service or buy your product.

You are essentially sending the wrong ‘signals’ to Facebook about who your customers are and therefore instead of presenting your page to your future customers, it’s showing it to a random hotch-potch of users. 

Think of it this way. Your friends list is made up of a variety of people, from your grandma or auntie, to unknown Thai women that for some reason you accepted back in 2008.

If you own a Male clothing store and you invite all of your friends, and bless your grandma she wants to help and likes the page, then inviting all of her friends…you are essentially telling Facebook that your page is relevant to Females over the age of 80.

Now throw into the mix all the other people that make up your friends lists on top of that, such as people you’ve met on holiday, neighbours etc. and you’re giving Facebook too many ‘signals’ for it to realise a pattern. Instead of presenting your page to a highly targeted audience of Men aged 18 – 30, it’s pushed out to every man and his dog, and his dogs cousin.

There’s not much going back from that, other than going through your page likes one by one and removing them. A time consuming and laborious task that most of you won’t likely know how to do. Even then there is no guarantee that this will fix the way Facebook ‘views’ your page and optimises it moving forward.

Reach & Engagement

Having lots of non-relevant people on your page will damage the engagement of your posts and reach of your marketing messages.

Let’s for arguments sake say that you’ve taken the advice from your well-intentioned friend and invited 3000 non-relevant people to your page, and a few of your friends have done the same and you’ve gained 1000 new likes on your small business page.

These people may have liked your page as a way to support you, but aren’t relevant and won’t ever use your business. They’ve essentially done this is a ‘one-time favour’ but they’re unlikely to engage with your business again. You’ve turned into just another page on their long list of hundreds of pages they’ve liked over the years.

Reach is the number of unique people who see a post or ad. 

Facebook changed the way its algorithm worked for business pages back in 2018, meaning that the average organic reach (ie. not paid for reach) of posts dropped from around 20-30% to around 6.5%. 

So for every 1000 people that like your page, on average only 65 people will see your post.

It’s a clever business model. Get the platform known and used by businesses big and small, show some great results and then change the way it works so to get anywhere near the same reach you’ll have to pay them money through the ads platform (Don’t even get me started on the boost button, that’s a whole article in itself).

It wasn’t all for monetary gain. As Facebook newsfeeds became more saturated with content, more pictures, more posts, more videos of cats playing the piano…it became difficult for organic posts to cut through the noise. 

The way to rectify this is to look more at what is relevant to the individual (think back to my first point about the signals being sent), to encourage people to pay to target their content at people who have shown an interest in certain criteria and most crucially to this article, to look at engagement on pages and posts.

You’ve just invited 3000 people and gained 1000 people. Only 100 of which are relevant or interested in what you have to say.

The other 900 will not like or engage with your posts or page again. Essentially telling Facebook your content is rubbish and not worth populating the timelines of your other page followers or their friends.

You’ve got a higher number of followers, but a less engaged audience. Your likes and engagement are weighed against each other and you’re considered to be lower quality. Your posts reach even less people and your page isn’t put in front of as many people as it was before.

 

Get advice from qualified experienced professionals where possible. Not all of them are this good looking as this bald chap unfortunately.

So what should you do?

If you’re going to invite your Facebook friends, you should only invite those who fit your target customer profile. Your what now?

We teach people how to identify and speak to their target audience by writing customer profiles. Identifying the demographics, psychographics and behavioural traits of the people most likely to benefit your business. That again is another article in itself and we’re happy to provide you with guidance on how to do it, but for brevity think of it as this…

  • Working out what your customer looks like…their age, where they live, how old they are, are they a man or a woman (or both, who knows in this day and age)
  • Working out what the customer wants…. what problems your service provides and what objections they may have to using your service.
  • Working out where your customer can be found…what social media channels do they use, what tv shows they watch, who influences them, what books or magazines they read.

This massive simplification of the process is all you need as a small business owner to identify who you should invite and what you should be posting to get them to engage. You aren’t spending thousands on ads or writing a strategy, but if you want to know how to do it properly then get in touch!

Using a beauty salon business or nail bar as an over simplified example:

  • Female Aged 18 – 35
  • Lives within 2 miles of Preston city centre.
  • Wants new acrylic nails for a night out at the weekend
  • Has reservations about the price and usually uses someone else so isn’t 100% sold on using you
  • Their usual salon is booked up and they need these for a night out in 2 days, you have availability
  • They use Facebook & Instagram multiple times a day
  • Read Women’s magazines such as Cosmo or Vogue
  • Influenced by their friends and people they know on social media – has seen your work on Instagram.

This provides you with a rough guide on who you should be inviting to like your page. You can now go through your friends list and invite people one by one, ensuring the closest fit to your customer profile.

It might take longer than ‘inviting all’, but it will yield better results, set your business up in the long run and is a hell of a lot quicker than removing 1000 random Thai women from your page in 6 months time. 

Some Other Ideas

There’s loads of other ways you can increase the number of people who like your page or gain additional reach.

Paid social advertisements are the best way to reach your customers in our professional opinion and experience.

Paid Social Ads

The best and most effective way is to use paid advertisements. Many small business owners will not have the skill set to do this effectively and may decide to stop after their first failed attempt. My advice, speak to a professional and get some advice. 

This is how Facebook generate 80-90% of their revenue, it’s the way they want you to use and therefore is the most effective way to reach your customers on their platform. 

Invest in your business and stop looking for the silver bullet of marketing. If it worked like that, everyone would be doing it. 

 

Competitions

Run incentivised competitions from your page that use your core offering/product/service as the prize. There’s no point giving away a holiday if you’re a pie shop. You will get lots of people entering but not many of them relevant. Use your prize to qualify the entrants as your target audience. Whilst the terms and conditions of Facebook forbid you from forcing an action in order to enter (although Facebook is awash with like & share competitions) there’s no harm in asking entrants to like your page as well.

Be careful you don’t fall foul of Facebook’s rules regarding competitions, read them here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events/

Face-to-Face

As much as we make 96% of our revenue from digital marketing, we still can’t stress the benefits of face-to-face communication in building your brand and business. It isn’t a scalable solution ie. you can’t replicate it at large volume in a cost effective manner, but it could go a long way to building a core audience on your social channels.

Ask your paying customers to like your page whilst you are with them face-to-face and explain how it helps you. 

Counter

The Smiirl counter can be used to register your page likes and encourage people to like your social media channels.

If you want to take this one further and you have a brick and mortar business, you could even get a Facebook / Social Media Likes & Followers counter for your premises. We recommend the Smiirl counter, even if it is a little pricey at around £350.

See them here: https://www.smiirl.com/

 

 

 

We have one in the office that we use for campaigns to show how many people have given their data. It ticks over every 15 minutes to update the number and can be linked to your Facebook or Instagram account. People love the engagement of tools like this and will like your page just to see if it works!

 

Email

If you have customer email addresses in a database, why not ask them to go over and like your page? Provide a link directly to your Facebook page and give them a clear bullet pointed step-by-step on what to do (people need to be told exactly what to do on the internet) and why it would help you. Incentivise it if you can.

Website

Add a Facebook Like button to your homepage or blog content if it lends itself to it. 

Caveats 

There are of course caveats to every rule. Certain businesses and circumstances may lend themselves to mass inviting. 

It might work in some mass markets or in a localised area…but its risky.

If you are a local restaurant owner and your friends list consists of local people, it’s fair to say that they are relevant to your page and business. It’s a mass market, everyone needs to eat after all. Where that gets a little tricky is when you have people from out of the area or local people start inviting those from out of the area to like the page, there’s no control once it’s left your hands. 

 

Have we ever used the invite all feature? Yeah!

There is some limited benefit to having page likes. They are a vanity metric in the most part and provide a level of social proof. When people see a page with 200 likes they trust it more than one with just 5 likes. It’s a psychological principle used extensively in marketing.

We are forever setting up small business pages to test campaigns or run paid campaigns either to establish new businesses ourselves or test the effectiveness of campaigns for our clients. We usually set up these pages, run a campaign for a month and close them down.

In order to get a volume of likes and quickly, we sometimes invite our personal contacts or ‘acquire’ likes from elsewhere. It doesn’t matter, because we aren’t using the pages for organic reach and we know we’re deactivating the page in the near future.

There’s likely other caveats and circumstances where using the invite all feature works and is a good idea, we just aren’t sure what they are. What we do know is they are in the minority and for most of you, you shouldn’t be doing it.

Remember people, this is the internet. People will share false information for a laugh or maliciously. Others will blindly share pictures and posts in an attempt to be helpful without checking the validity of the information they are providing.

Next time you see an image like this sharing advice for your small business, especially marketing, please please please come and speak to me or one of the team. We won’t charge you for a quick bit of advice or to provide an opinion if you’re a small business owner.

We actively support small business owners and especially those across the North of England. If we can help and even have a tiny impact and it doesn’t take too much away from our own business, why wouldn’t we help someone out who needs it?

 

Give us a shout on Hello@InvokeMedia.co.uk 

 

Jack Barron

Director

Invoke Media

01772 921 109

 

*My experience…9 years digital marketing, 15 years overall marketing & promotions. 1st Class Bachelors Management Degree (Hons) and MSc in Marketing Communications from UCLan and MMU respectively.
15 years experience running my own business. Several failed entrepreneurial attempts. Personally managed approx £9 million on paid digital ads. I’m a dog lover and therefore trustworthy.

Invoke Media Celebrate Collaborative Success of Landmark Local Event

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area.

Invoke saw three of our key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency.

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Invoke Media

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.”

The event has been authorised by BID members to return in 2020, with Invoke already lodging an interest to once again take up the marketing function for the event and continue the longstanding good relationship with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

SMEs: Do you know well your marketing is performing?

One of the main benefits of digital marketing in comparison with traditional marketing & media channels is readily available & accurate data on performance.

Many forms of traditional marketing rely heavily on assumptions, presumptions or sample data.

How many customers not only saw, but took action from your last newspaper or magazine advert? How many people screwed up your latest flyer and how many took notice? It’s not impossible to gauge, but it’s certainly very difficult and not very accurate.

The rise of digital mediums provided marketers and business owners alike, with rich actionable data in realtime. It’s an absolute dream for gauging success, tracking return on investment & gaining customer insight.

 

The Benefits

  • Insight into customer behaviour
  • Understand who your customers actually are
  • Track R.O.I. from different campaigns
  • Understand the value of each customer
  • Establish the cost of winning new customers
  • Make informed business decisions

 

The Problem

As digital marketing platforms evolve and become more complex, so too can the data they provide.

It’s very easy to be blinded by science, overwhelmed with insights or just not know which of the thousands of tools out there are best suited for your needs.

Even if you’re an experienced marketer, it can be hard to make sense of the data in front of you. Even more so if you’re the owner or operator of an SME with limited experience in analytics or marketing reporting. 

The Solution

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and reporting metrics are an important first step. They help you filter out the noise of data overload and concentrate on the information that matters to your business.

Work out what matters to you, whether it’s how people people view your website each month, the number of enquiry forms you receive or calls received from your website; establish the criteria that you’re going to measure your success from.

Once you’ve established what it is you want to track, set the parameters to gauge your success and have filtered out the noise, it’s time to get to it.

Set the time frame that you want to measure your marketing performance from and start reporting! We usually find that monthly report (from the 1st day of the month to the final day of the month) is more than sufficient for most businesses we work with.

 

How To Go About It

If you’re pulling data from different sources you’re going to want to use one common means of storing it, for ease of accessing and comparison. Traditionally we used to use an Excel Spreadsheet, but we’d highly recommend you consider using Google Sheets if you’re a small business.

Not only does this allow you the ability to share an editable document with other members of the team, you’ll be able to create visually appealing charts and graphs to make the data easier to understand and translate.

Include the KPI’s and metrics you established earlier on, and get inputting that data!

 

Finally

Inputting your marketing metrics can be time consuming but it’s an important part of any marketing campaign or overall strategy.

If you don’t know how well (or badly!) you’re doing, you can’t test, adjust and pivot accordingly. How will you know if your Google Ads are worth the money you’re investing, or whether the time spent on writing your blogs is having a positive effect?

We’ve included monthly reporting as one of the key services in our marketing support packages for small businesses.

We’ll provide you with a monthly marketing report that brings together all of the data from across your marketing channels and put it into a visually appealing, easy to understand report so you can measure the R.O.I. of your financial and time investment.

For those that don’t want all of the benefits that our marketing support packages offer, we also offer the monthly reporting as a separate low-cost service for SME’s! Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Jack Barron

Managing Director – Invoke Media

 

Marketing Support: What kind of problems do we solve?

Our marketing support packages are designed to help small businesses access the high quality marketing they need to succeed. You’ve seen what’s included in the packages, but you’re probably wondering what kind of problems we can solve. Here’s a list of some of the most common problems and challenges that we solve for our marketing support customers…

Customers

 

Finding new customers

You may have a brilliant concept, provide exceptional service and having raving reviews, but none of that means anything unless you’ve got a flow of new customers to compensate for the natural churn of your customer base. We can show you how to find, attract and convert prospects and leads into paying customers using multiple marketing channels.

Retaining existing customers

Whether they turn to the competition, go out of business or just don’t need your services anymore, there’s always going to be a natural churn of your customer base. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action to make sure that churn is kept to a minimum. We can help you identify and implement strategies that keep your customers engaged and onboard!

Maximising profit from existing customers

It’s usually cheaper and less time intensive to maximise profit from existing customers than from winning new customers alone. They already trust your business and spend money with you, and the cost of marketing is considerably less. We’ll help you identify opportunities to maximise profit from your existing customer base.

Leveraging customers for reviews & referrals

Social proof is the perfect way of easing uncertain customers minds and building enough trust in your business to purchase. Whether it’s a customer review, testimonial or warm introduction, you’re more likely to secure someones custom if they trust you can do the job; seeing you’ve done that for other people is the perfect way to do that. We’ll help you leverage existing customers to build trust with new prospects.

Creating content that your customers will love

Creating relevant website, social media or marketing material content that engages your audience is the perfect way to build relevance & trust with prospective or existing customers, removing uncertainty as to whether to use your service or purchase your product. By understanding your customers, how they behave and how they think, we can help you establish what your customers want to see or hear.  

 

Time

Effective & efficient use of time

When you aren’t fully immersed in an industry or something isn’t your speciality, it can be difficult to know where to spend your time and effort. As the old adage goes ‘time is money’, and aside from being frustrating, spending time on unnecessary tasks will have a direct financial implication on your business. We’ll help you regain your time, meaning you can concentrate on the areas of the business that need your attention the most. We’ll do this by taking on some of the technical or specialist elements of your marketing (dependent on your package) or by giving you an understanding of what areas you should prioritise.

Money

Save Money

Spending money on unnecessary marketing, using irrelevant channels and incorrect practice all cost your business money. We can advise you on the right way to market your business, or depending on the level of package you subscribe to, can even implement it for you.

Investing in the right areas

By understanding the return on investment you get from the different areas of your business and marketing, you can make informed decisions on which areas are best to invest your budget. We can help you establish what is making you the most money, and make recommendations on how to make more.

 

Marketing Support: What kind of questions do we answer?

The consultancy sessions and monthly reports provide valuable insight into where your business, customers and competitors are at the present, so you can make educated and informed decisions on how to move your business forward into the future and achieve your goals. But what kind of questions could we answer? Whilst this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the common questions that we answer….

 

About Your Customers

At the core of every marketing strategy, plan, campaign and successful business is an understanding of the customer.

 

Who are my customers and where can I find them?

We help people identify who their customers are, what they like, their behaviours and how to target them with relevant marketing messages.

What do my customers want to see or read on my website?

Start creating content on your website that attracts new prospects and keeps existing ones coming back. We can help you identify what your customers want to see, hear or read.

What types of things are my customers searching for to find my website or the websites of my competitors?

We look at how people use search engines to find your website and those of your competitors.

 

About Your Time

Wasted time is missed opportunity and money lost. Value your time, use it effectively & efficiently.

 

What social media platforms should I concentrate my efforts on?

With so many social media platforms out there, it’s difficult to know which ones are worth spending your time and energy on. We can help you decide which will provide the most opportunity and best return.

What areas of marketing would be most beneficial for me to spend my time learning about?

Identify which areas are marketing are most relevant to your business and industry and therefore most worthwhile to familiarise yourself and learn about.

What things can I do to minimise the time I spend on marketing?

If you aren’t a marketer or there aren’t many people in your business, then you’re going to want to make sure you spend your time effectively and efficiently. We can help you do that.

When should I delegate my marketing or outsource?

There is no end of agencies and consultants vying for your business…but do you need them? We’ll help you assess which parts of your marketing you should outsource (if any) and who would be most suitable.

 

About Your Website & Social Media

Understanding your online presence and how effective it is.

 

Who is visiting my website and what are they doing?

Find out how many people are coming onto your website, who they are and what they’re doing when they are there.

How are people finding my website?

How are your customers finding your website and what can you do to help more people like them find you.

What can I do to generate new leads and customers from my website?

We can help you make tweaks and changes to your website and the way it is presented so it is best suited to generating you more leads, enquiries and sales.

How many people see my business each day, week or month?

Find out exactly how many people are seeing your business online across your website, social media and other channels.

 

About Your Competitors

Knowing what your competitors are doing and how they’re trying to compete with you can help you with your own plans and campaigns.

 

What are my competitors doing?

Get an understanding of what your competitors are doing and prepare or react accordingly.

How are my competitors marketing their business?

What are your main competitors doing to attract new customers? Are they running ads online? If so where and what messaging are they using?

What are they charging?

What are your competitors charging

How are people finding them online?

How many people are visiting your competitors websites and how are people finding them.

Your Money

Have an understanding of where your money is best spent and which areas of marketing are going to give you the best return on investment.

 

Which marketing channels should I be using?

Which marketing channels and mediums are the most appropriate and best use of resources.

Should I use traditional or digital marketing? Or both?

Should you be marketing online or using traditional methods? We’ll help you make the decision on how best to market your business to your customers.

What should I be doing to get more customers?

What can you do to attract and convert more customers. We’ll give you recommendations on how best to win more customers.

What can I do to make more money from existing customers?

It’s often considerably cheaper to market to and maximise profit from existing customers rather than find new ones. We’ll help you work out how to do that.

What return on investment am I getting from my marketing?

What return on investment are you getting from your marketing channels, platforms and campaigns? Let us help you establish what marketing is working and worth it, and which isn’t.

 

 

 

Why do I have to commit to an initial 3 months of marketing support?

So we know that you’re serious

The main and probably the most important reason we ask for you to commit to an initial 3 month agreement before moving onto a 30-day rolling agreement is to ensure you’re serious about the marketing of your business. We want to qualify the people we work with as being the right type of customer, the type that has a genuine desire for developing their business and is willing to make the necessary commitments to do so.

We’ve found that customers who aren’t willing to commit to an initial period aren’t the right type of customer for us. They’re either ‘budget dumping’ to satisfy their accountant or just trying lots of different things without any genuine committed plan of action.

We don’t have the time or energy to work with tyre kickers or time wasters. We want to work with driven & hungry future success stories that can grow alongside us. We want to work with businesses we can add value to, and can add value to our own. Is that you?

 

To achieve results

We’re good at what we do, but we aren’t magicians. The marketing of your business will be an ever-evolving process, the data we collect and report will need time to collect and the recommendations and advice we give will take time to implement.

In short, we just can’t get all of the information we need, provide the right advice and implement the plans we need to to get results in 1 month alone.

3 months gives us the right amount of time to get to know you and your business, your customers and industry, and give you the advice and tools you need to achieve your goals.

We don’t want people quitting after a month with a sour taste in their mouth because they haven’t had the results they were expecting. It’s bad for them, and bad for us.

 

The cost implications

Let’s be blunt. We’re in the business of making money. Whilst asking you to stay with us for 3 months is certainly one way of maximising profit from your business, it’s more to do with the cost implications of not doing so that influenced our decision.

Acquiring a new customer to replace an old one each month is expensive, it’s far easier (and cheaper) for us to retain existing customers than find new ones. Advertising, on-boarding and initial consultations are all costly both in time and money.

Another consideration is the cost of the services we include with our paid packages. Services like Search Engine Optimisation & optimising your social media channels cost us a considerable amount. In fact the initial optimising of your website for search engines costs nearly as much as your first full month. If you left at month 1 we’d be out of pocket, so we cover that cost and spread it throughout your monthly payments. We only start to turn a profit in month 3.

 

Your potential funding opportunities

The reason that’s probably sparked the most interest from you however, is the possibility of match funding.

We’ve developed relationships with providers of government and EU backed match funding. That means that you can regain 50% of your investment in marketing support back. Sounds good doesn’t it?

To do this you often have to outlay one lump sum rather than claim it back monthly. That means if you want to benefit from match funding you will have to pay for 3 months upfront, and then at the end of the 3 month period will receive 50% of the cost back.

If you’re in a position to do so, we’re open to extending the initial period of your marketing support to 6 months or longer so that you can benefit even more from match funding. Just let us know and we’ll try to accomodate you.

If you want to find out more about match funding, visit our match funding and finance page here…

 

marketing plan for small business

The importance of a clear marketing plan for small businesses

For entrepreneurs new to the world of marketing, common buzzwords and phrases surrounding themes such as social media, digital content or the dreaded search engine optimisation (SEO) may seem daunting. A clear and achievable marketing plan is absolutely vital to the success of a small business, however, and need not be complicated.

Whether you decide to hire marketing professionals or go it alone, the following tips highlight the importance of a small business marketing plan:

1. Good planning helps target customers and improve receptivity

One of the golden (and, sadly, overlooked) rules of successful marketing is to accurately define your target audience. Understanding the needs and desires of your target demographic will help you tremendously when you’re drawing up plans to market and advertise your services, as well as help you to pick and choose your marketing channels more wisely.

If you’re a company that markets products towards an older demographic, for example, it may be beneficial to avoid spending too much time on social media channels that they rarely use. If you’re hoping to appeal to a younger demographic, the opposite may be true.

2. Understanding the marketing landscape promises better returns and efficiency

Once you know who your audience is, it is important that you consider the various ways in which they can be reached. This could include:

• Content marketing (blog posts, podcasts, videos etc)

• Social media (networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)

• Search engine marketing (understanding how to increase your visibility in search engines)

• Public relations (knowing how to generate good publicity around your brand)

• Advertising (including pay-per-click advertising on search engines)

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into a comprehensive marketing plan. However, it is not necessary to put the same amount of effort into every strategy. Understanding the various methods you can use to market you business, as well as planning out how much time you should spend on each, will optimise your marketing strategy considerably.

3. A plan is a tool with which to measure success

Strategies and itineraries rarely go to plan, but this does not have to be a bad thing. Setting out a plan allows you to measure what went well over a given period of time, as well as what did not go so well, and provides a wealth of information about how to improve your marketing strategy in the future.